Favorite Thrift Stores ~ How Did They Get That Way?

One of my Facebook friends asked which thrift stores were my favorites in New York City. I’ll list them below, and would love to hear yours, from big city or small.

And it got me thinking – what makes a thrift your favorite? Obviously it’s got interesting stuff, and  a regular influx of new stock. But what else makes it a top choice? For me it’s:

  • Location, naturally. My favorites in NYC “happen” to be in the Village, in easy walking distance. And here at home, the ones within a 5 minute bike or car ride become my favorites. I know there’s a terrific shop in North Melbourne, 19 miles away, but I just don’t get there much.
  • Staff. I look forward to my chats with Brian and Ronnie at Molly Mutt. It’s part of the thrift experience, and makes me look forward to shopping there. And as we’ve gotten to know each other, they’ll point out fab stuff that just arrived, or a vintage stash they’re still sorting.
  • Who benefits? I am a huge fan of what Goodwill does, and shops that support the homeless, the hungry, and neglected animals get my business.
  • General shopping conditions. I know I’m not going to Nordie’s, but I like shops where I can move around a bit, get from rack to rack and find a couple of full length mirrors. Wine and cheese would be nice but not expected ☺. Loud music and mounds of dust send me out the door (I’m old!).

When you’re in the Big Apple, look for these shops. They have the Not Dead Yet seal of thrift approval:

  • Monks 175 MacDougal St. OK, this one already breaks rule #3 above: it’s super cramped. But the mix of new and vintage is fabulous, and the prices are good. I got a gorgeous 80’s designer silk blouse for $15, and many more treasure there.
Monks is crowded but worth it. Check the back room.
  • Housing Works 245 W 10th St, and several other locations. You can shop them online too. Superb for house stuff and fresh, gently used clothing. Last visit they had a bunch of cool restaurant-donated chairs for $2 each.
  • Angel Street 118 W 17th St. A different kind of store, with new-looking stock, seconds and samples. Some incredible buys on clothing and accessories. Wonderful, helpful staff and a bright open setting.
  • The Cure 111 E 12th St. Funky and fun to shop in, they have a great mix of collectibles, vintage and newer clothing, and an awesome mannequin outside.

Visible Monday is so on for Monday, June 10th. We start early, on Sunday evening, and party all day Saturday. Everyone is welcome to participate! Hope your weekend is fabulous.

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  1. Location definitely plays a big part in what makes a great store I agree. The interior of Angel Street looks amazing, would love to have a rummage in Monks!

  2. You pretty much nailed it as far as which thrift stores work for me. My other thing is smell. Although there's often times an undefinable but recognizable "thrift store" smell which seems startlingly uniform despite location, it can't be too strong or I'm out. And of course, always wash or clean your garments the very first thing. Love the suggestions BTW.

  3. The owners of my two favourite vintage stores (both are so good, in different ways), like to natter and that's good, because sometimes there won't be anything there to fit me /suit me on the visit and it is just lovely to talk about the clothes and accessories. They often have funny stories about the origins of some of their stock.

    With more consignment shops, charity shops, I do prefer just to rummage quietly.

  4. Holy crap, all the best vintage places seem to be o/s… Wish I could visit!

  5. Honestly, for me, it's all about the merchandise. I've dug some FABULOUS gens out of some pretty rough looking thrift stores! I do like to know who is benefitting….that a plus and I hate going to thrifts that individually price everything. I just LOVE the thrill of he hunt!! Hugs girly!! Serene

  6. Awesome heads up! My local GW is considered the best in the area. Some people even drive down from KY to shop there. We get a good percentage of brand new with tags stuff. Really good brands. It's well organized, clean, and easy to browse most of the time. Personally, I like to be left alone when shopping. Shopping is my "me-time" so I like staying in my own head and browsing for a couple of hours. Sometimes the employees want to chat a little too much for my own comfort.

    However if I were going someplace like my own consignment shop, I'd definitely prefer more of a chatty environment. My GW is more of a huge-warehouse and thus picking the brain of the staff isn't as effective as a smaller place where people are more likely to know the stock. So it's a toss up.

  7. I had to look twice… thought that dude outside the store was your boyfriend. LOL That would totally draw me into a store. LOL

  8. Great stuff. I wish I had known about these 6 months ago, the last time I visited the city. I also enjoyed visiting Off Broadway – it's not a charity shop and not exactly thrifty but it was a good experience as far as second hand shopping goes. xx

  9. I so agree with you, Patti, about the staff and who benefits. I want friendly people who are really knowledgeable about fashion and not trying to put one over on me. My favorite thrift store in San Antonio is at the top of the list because the owner is super personable, was a buyer for Nordstrom at one time, and is a single mom putting two through college. I love to support her!!

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